Lotus Esprit

21 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Lotus Esprit
Lotus Esprit

Esprit – The History

Wednesday 5th February 2003

A potted history of one of the world’s legendary sports cars

1972 Esprit Concept car unveiled

The November Turin Motorshow in Italy saw the unveiling of the Lotus Esprit concept car on Giorgio Giugiario’s Ital Design stand. Colin Chapman had seen the potential for a future mid-engined Lotus to replace the ageing Europa, and brought the car back to Hethel after the show to start the development process. Mike Kimberley and Tony Rudd led the M70 project, and the prototype work for the project took place at the recently purchased Ketteringham Hall.

1973/ 1974 Prototype vehicle development

These years saw the continued development of the Esprit with the first prototype vehicle running late in 1974.

1975 Paris Motor Show Star of the Show

With the development of the M70 Lotus Esprit Type 79 nearing the end, the first completed car was shown at the Paris Motor Show in October and was instantly awarded Star of the Show.

1976 Esprit starts production

In June 1976, the first Esprit came of the production line. The Giugiaro styled wedge shape exterior was the latest in modern design and philosophy. The great looks with impressive performance from the 160bhp 2 litre engine; its light weight together with the legendary Lotus ride and handling, projected the Esprit to Supercar status.

1977 The Spy Who Loved Me

In this year Lotus Cars and in particular the Esprit gained tremendous publicity with the release of the new James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me, with 007 emerging from the sea driving a submersible Esprit, arguably ‘one of the most famous car scenes of all time.’ In December the production of the S1 finished with 718 having been built.

1978 S2 Esprit launched

The early part of the year saw the start of the production of the Esprit S2. The development of the S2 had ironed out many of the problems associated with the S1 such as poor interior noise. Many detailed improvements including a new front splitter, rear valance, new rear suspension and a new camshaft offered improved performance raising the top speed.

1979 Celebrating Formula 1 Success

To commemorate the 1978 Formula 1 World Drivers and Constructors Championships and the success of the F1 Type 79 100 Special Edition black and gold liveried Esprits were produced, each numbered sequentially.

1980 New Turbo Esprit

The start of the year saw the S2 fitted with the new type 912 2.2 litre engine. Then, in a surprise move, a lavish party was held at the Royal Albert Hall in London during February to launch the new Turbo Esprit (Type 82).

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